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Training on stigma and discrimination wraps up

May 31, 2011, 1:56 PM | Article By: Lamin Darboe

A day-long training course for policymakers, religious and community leaders on stigma and discrimination ended recently at the National Malaria Control Programme office in Kanifing.

Organised by the Kanifing Municipality, in conjunction with Banjul City Council (BCC), the training delved into consequences of stigma and discrimination on HIV/AIDS.

In his closing remarks on behalf of National AIDS Secretariat Director Alieu Jammeh, Bai Cham expressed appreciation with the organisers.

"HIV and AIDS is by far the single biggest threat to our development and a big concern for our collective security," he said.

He added that facts on HIV and AIDS were vividly endorsed by the United Nations General Special Session in June 2001 and reaffirmed in 2002 by the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children in New York.

He stated that current global statistics, according to UNAIDS,  have stated that is there are over 33 million people living with HIV including 2.5 million children, and some 2.7 million people become newly effected with the virus.

Mr Cham noted that about half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35.

According to him, HIV and AIDS prevalence in The Gambia is estimated at 1.64% and young people are mainly affected.

Government will continue to lead the national fight against HIV/AIDS in a comprehensive multi-sectoral response, he says, adding that the protection of the right of people living with HIV and comprehensive national response can’t be attained without a strong fight against stigma and discrimination.

According to Mr Chm, stigma and discrimination is one of the major challenges in the HIV response and one can denote that because of stigma and discrimination HIV\AIDS is a taboo topic in many parts of the world.

For his part, the Deputy Mayor of Banjul City Council, Winston Shyngle, applauded the Government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Health, the National AIDS Secretariat, the Office of the President, and the President’s Treatment Programme, for a job well done in the fight against AIDS.